Her Secret Past by Kerry Watts starts in 1990 with the murder of an elderly couple by their grandaughter Alice’s and her boyfriend David. Nearly 30 years later DI Jesse Blake and DC Dylan Logan are called to the scene of another double murder. They arrive to find the bodies of Malcolm and Jean Angus in their remote Perthshire farmhouse. Searching the couple’s property, Jessie learns about a vicious dispute with a nearby land owner, Rachel Ferguson, and when Jessie looks into Rachel further, she doesn’t expect what comes up. Rachel isn’t the person everyone thinks she is and a previous murder conviction just made her Jessie’s prime suspect. Alongside her frantic search to find the couple’s murderer Jessie’s life get even more complicated when her ex-husband suddenly reappears in her life bringing with him a new girlfriend.
This was a really good premise based around the idea of young girl involved in a heinous crime who is given another life. Yet the past always comes out in the end (in novels at least) and nobody is necessarily as innocent or as guilty as they may at first seem.
I enjoyed the story and liked the main characters of Jessie and Dylan. This is the first book I’ve read by Kerry Watt’s although it is the third in the series so I suspect that there is back story that I’ve missed, but that certainly didn’t spoil my enjoyment. They made a good team and I liked the way they bounced off each other.
The book frequently switched between time frames and all the different characters, yet despite all the complexity it was easy to keep track of them all thanks to the quality of the writing and how they were dealt with. I also felt that although there were some bits that clearly ended on a cliff-hanger ready for the next book on the whole everything was wrapped up nicely.
This was a good story that was a quick paced read with some great twists and turns, well worth a read! A big thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources and for a review copy.
I find that often because I read so many new and debut authors I can often ignore established writers, especially those with long running series where I have probably missed out on a few of the books. Ann Cleaves is one of those authors but when I was offered a copy of her latest Vera novel I decided to give it a go, and I most certainly wasn’t disappointed.
In the Rising Tide we are transported to the Holy Island of Lindesfarne which is one of my favourite places. A group of friends are gathering for their regular reunion to remember a friend they lost during their first visit there fifty years ago. When one of the group is found hanged Vera Stanhope is called to investigate. The dead man had recently been fired from a very public role for misconduct and Vera soon realises that the friends are all hiding secrets.
This was an absolutely fantastic read that I thoroughly enjoyed. I had forgotten how much I love Vera Stanhope as a character. Her gruff exterior belies a heart that does really care and this case will test her resolve, especially at the heartbreaking finale. Vera is such an iconic character loved by everyone that it must be difficult to write her without having that always in the back of your head but Ann Cleeves manages to write a character that is both flawed and wonderful at the same time.
The story itself is intriguing. I enjoyed the mix of characters and liked the fact that we were introduced to them all individually at the beginning which gave us a real sense of who they all were. Ann Cleeves has a superb way of writing that absolutely flows of the page. There is a real sense of place about the books, and I thoroughly enjoyed the setting of Lindesfarne. It’s a beautiful place but within it is a real sense of menace and danger that comes from living somewhere that is cut off for a lot of the time.
The Rising Tide was a great read that was absolutely enthralling. I had forgotten what a superb author Ann Cleeves is and what a fantastic character we have in Vera!
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Having spent part of my childhood living near the seaside town of Cromer I have always had a bit of a fascination with coastal places, especially the disconnect between the holiday sunny ideal and the reality of seasonal living. Therefore when I was asked to review a true crime book focusing on murders in seaside towns I jumped at the chance.
Murder by the Sea is a companion to the CBS Reality true crime documentary series of the same name, and features 10 of the series stories with extra material that couldn’t be in the show, including interviews with detectives and witnesses.
This was a fascinating book with 10 hideous crimes all set in British Seaside Towns. Some of the stories you may know, for example that of John Cooper who was portrayed in the TV drama series The Pembrokeshire Murders. There are also others that I hadn’t heard of such as Mathew Hardman who killed Mabel Leyshon in Anglsey, or Malcom Green who murdered Gleys Johnson and Clive Tully nearly twenty years apart.
Murder By The Sea gives an interesting insight into the crimes and both the murderers as well as the victims but it also paints a picture of the coastal towns that goes against the postcard pictures usually seen. I really enjoyed the way this book was written. Each of the ten stories are well researched and have enough details to keep you interested but equally each chapter is relatively short so it keeps you reading.
A must for fans of true crime and a good read whether or not you have seen the TV series.
John Marr’s is one of my favourite authors so I was delighted to be invited onto the blog tour for the newly repacked The Vacation (previously titled Welcome to Wherever You Are)
The Vacation is set in a back packers hostel on a Los Angeles beach. Eight strangers are all there but none of them are there just for a holiday. Each of them has their own reasons for trying to turn their back on their normal life, and each of them have secrets they want to keep hidden. Whether they are running from themselves or other people they hope that the hostel will be the solution, yet as the saying goes you can run but you can’t hide!
The Vacation is a real twisty read that I found very compelling. The chapters are short and there are lots of cliff hanger endings, all of which makes this hard to put down.
The book started relatively slowly as we are introduced to all of the main players but it soon starts to pick up pace. There are a lot of characters in this book but it is so well written that they are all easy to keep track of. They each have their own back story and as with all good books as the stories start to unwind the characters lives begin to merge.
I liked the way that all the stories were tied up properly at the end, some with endings I didn’t see coming and some with endings that were just heartbreaking. Throughout the book my views of each of the characters had kept changing and this continued right to the end.
I would recommend this great read for all fans of a twisty well written tale.
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